HENDLER’S: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery Part 1

Posted on July 2nd, 2018 by

Article by Rachel Kassman. Originally published in Generations 2011 – 2012: Jewish Foodways.  Information on how to purchase your own copy here. 


The Hendler Creamery Company is Born

Hendler’s Ice Cream was an iconic Baltimore treat for 60 years. The Hendler Creamery Company began as “Miller & Hendler” in 1905, founded by Louis Miller and L. Manuel Hendler. Hendler quickly moved to the forefront, purchasing Miller’s interest in the business in 1907 and, in 1912, incorporating it as “The Hendler Creamery Company.” Shortly thereafter Hendler purchased the former power house of the Baltimore City Passenger Railway Company, transforming the building into a state-of-the-art ice cream manufacturing plant.

The Hendler Creamery Company building on East Baltimore Street, adorned with patriotic red, white and blue banners for the company’s 50th, or “Golden” Anniversary, 1955.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.21.2.

In 1929 Hendler’s was purchased by the Borden Company. Manuel, and later his son Albert, became executives with the Borden Company, continuing to manufacture and distribute ice cream under the Hendler Creamery name until Albert’s retirement in 1965. At one point, Hendler’s had 400 stores and a fleet of 120 delivery trucks, selling its ice cream in numerous neighborhood groceries and drugstores. Known as “The Velvet Kind,” Hendler’s Ice Cream is fondly remembered for its 60 years of cool and tasty treats.

Manuel Hendler, hard at work at his office desk. Anonymous Gift, 1998.047.4.24.

Albert Hendler outside the manufacturing plant, c. 1955. Anonymous Gift, 1998.047.4.21.4.

A Technological Leap

The Hendler Creamery Company was known for its technological advances. Between them, L. Manuel Hendler and his son Albert held 32 patents related to ice-cream making. Albert recalls that “my father, though he didn’t know it, designed the first air conditioning system. That was not his original intention. His purpose was to devise a method for protecting the ice cream plant from flies. To compensate for closing it off to the outside, he ventilated the building by blowing in air which traveled through ducts connected to coils. In wintertime heat was produced by steam, and in summer brine pumped through the coils cooled the interior. By the time we learned the significance of his invention the patent had expired.”

The photo set shown here, by photographer George C. Pace, highlights the company’s commitment to modernization and advancement. The photo captions were written by Hendler advertising executives to highlight the company’s status as the “cleanest and most modern plant in the world.”

Modern continuous freezers lined up for the production of the millions of gallons of ice cream sold each year by Handlers. Here are a few of the many such freezers. This production worker checks all equipment to make certain the ice cream is up to the exacting standards set by the laboratory. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.3.

This machine being filled by the young lady is an automatic fruit filling machine which adds so much of those delicious fresh fruits found in Hendlers Ice Cream.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.7

Taste testing milk or cream in the Hendler Creamery Company plant.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.8

Packaging the much-liked “dixie cup.”  We have the only “dixie cup” franchise in Baltimore.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.11

Beautiful all stainless steel lifetime refrigerated storage or holding tank. Hendler has many of these tanks to hold ice cream mix at a constant temperature to keep it sweet and fresh. Checking to see that the mix is being agitated properly to keep the blend of materials smooth. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.13

Stirring and flavoring ice cream mix as it flows from the refrigerated storage tanks to the continuous freezers.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.16

The testing, sampling and chemical work done in our laboratory is the most important phase of Hendlers’ plant operation. It is here where a tight control is kept over each phase of production making Hendler the best ice cream that can be purchased in Baltimore County.  Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.17

Cleaning, sterilizing and polishing of each piece of equipment and pipe used, ends a busy production day at Hendlers. Here a pipe is being thoroughly cleaned. Anonymous Gift, 1998.47.23.20

Continue to Part II of HENDLER’S: The Velvet Kind, An Image Gallery

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JMM Insights: The Great Chicken Soup Cook Off

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 by

As you read this, The JMM is preparing for our first Great Chicken Soup Cook Off.  We are in search of Maryland’s best chicken soup. We’ve invited   aspiring chefs–from newbies to bubbies–to show us their culinary skills in a bid to receive the coveted title of Maryland’s Chicken Soup Champion.

The cook off tasting will take place at the JMM on Sunday, October 9th from 1 to 3pm. It is inspired by our current exhibit Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America, and a certain televised baking contest. We have held various food related programs over the years at the JMM (including the ever- popular Gefiltefest, a gefilte fish cook-off), and we’re aiming to continue this successful tradition.

The Soups

The competition has been divided into three categories: Traditional, Alternative and Free From. Unsurprisingly the traditional category filled up quickly with eager participants. We are looking forward to trying a variety of traditional chicken soups including Grandma Esther’s Golden Delicious Soup and Beverly’s Bewitching Soup.

Entries in the Alternative category also sound really tasty.  They   include a Chicken Soup Maryland Style (don’t worry this doesn’t include any crabmeat) and a Lemongrass Chicken Soup. In the Free From category we are looking forward to trying a No Chicken “Chicken Soup”.

For those of you who think you’ve got what it takes to win the coveted prize,  there are still spaces available in the Free From and Alternative categories, so enter here TODAY!

The Awards

Trophies & More!

Trophies & More!

Participants are eligible for a variety of awards beyond the overall Chicken Soup Champion. Prizes will be awarded for the best soup in each category, plus an under 16 award, director’s choice and the all-important people’s choice award.

The Tasting Judges

We need you!

We need you!

Our team of tasting judges all work in the Baltimore metropolitan area. We will be joined by Tom Lovejoy, executive chef at Eddie’s of Roland Park, Mark Davis from Michael’s Café and Sam Gallant of WTMD. However we need your help!  For the people’s choice we need you to taste test all of the yummy soups, then vote for your favorite. This is a great opportunity to help choose the Chicken Soup Champion, and you get to taste lots of delicious soups.

 Everything Else

The soups will be the stars of the day but there is plenty more to do while you are at JMM after you have cast your vote. In addition to visiting our exhibits and historic synagogues, we have lots of chicken soup inspired activities. This includes chef demonstrations of their own twists on this classic dish, hopefully inspiring you to try at home.  Plus, to help in your future culinary endeavors, a chance to plant your own herb garden, specially designed for making chicken soup! We’re even planning a special kids craft project to decorate their own special chicken soup bowl to take home.

The cook off is certain to be a great day for the whole family so buy your tickets here!

~Trillion Attwood, Programs Manager

P.S. If you can’t attend, you can recreate the day at home! We will be making all of the recipes available online after the event with the help of Beyond Bubbie. We’ll also share our specially created playlist on Spotify, featuring all of the greatest chicken inspired songs. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details.

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The Nitty-Grits-y: An Extremely Brief Crash-Course of Southern Jewish History

Posted on July 30th, 2015 by

“So the consensus is that Elizabeth just melted cheese into a box of cornmeal, right?” I addressed the table of laughing interns in the break room, making sure I was up to date with the debate over whether or not she actually prepared grits the night before, or some unknown mystery substance from a bulk package at the store– I’d missed some information after laughing too loudly. The giggles continued as Elizabeth tried to scowl at me, to which I retorted with “don’t worry, everyone makes mistakes!”

“NO, that’s not the final answer! We still haven’t gotten everyone’s opinion!” Elizabeth tries to hold onto her hope and her dignity as she passes the Tupperware container of chunky yellow quicksand to Tracie, our Projects Manager, and we beg for an expert opinion to settle the dispute.

Jewish Food? Coarse White Grits on Spoon

Jewish Food?

After almost an hour of the Great Grits Debacle of 2015, we interns were aware of our inability to differentiate grits from, apparently, everything else, which was as disappointing as it was inspiring. Intern Wrangler Rachel suggested we use this as a learning experience, to which I replied “challenge accepted” and began researching the intersection of two environments: that of grits, and that of Jews.

While the former seems to have a relatively specific point of origin: grits are a maize-based porridge, typically eaten at breakfast, and are of Native American origin.The word itself, “grits,” comes from the Old English “grytt,” meaning “coarse meal.” The latter, however, might not prove as easy to define. Honing such a skill for millennia, Jews have grown to be impressive shapeshifters, even assimilators, into whichever culture by which they find themselves surrounded. Especially in a country with such a variation of culture as America. As the early settlers started to expand down the Atlantic coast and further west, Jews began to do the same: in fact, two Jewish merchants from Virginia, Isaiah Isaacs and Jacob Cohen, were among the settlers commissioned by the government to explore areas of what is now Kentucky. But it wasn’t just Jews from more northern colonies and states wanderlusting over new places to live; when mass immigration from Europe commenced around the 19th century, waves of Jews from the Old Country claimed new Jewish-American beginnings in the South, accepting the challenge to thrive under the Confederacy, and they did. Personalities like Judah Benjamin, a lawyer and diplomat who, some argue, would come to be one of the most influential Jews in the Senate, began to pop up around the South, and Jews became such a part of the South that at 1800, Charleston had more Jews than any city in the States at that time, with a population of over a thousand Jews (it might not sound like much now, but it was a huge deal at the time!), and there is documentation of General Robert E. Lee, in responding to a rabbi in Virginia, turning down a request for Jewish soldiers to be able to honor the high holidays during the Civil War, citing that “neither you nor any other member of the Jewish congregation would wish to jeopardize a cause you have so much at heart by the withdrawal, even for a season, of a portion of its defenders.”
The Jewish presence in the South has fluctuated in terms of exact numbers, but what hasn’t changed is our response to a new culture, and how we make it our own. So, whatever it was in that Tupperware container that Elizabeth brought from home, it definitely belongs in the JMM breakroom refrigerator.

Interested in finding out more about Southern Jewish life and food? Check out:

From Free Republic: A Tribe Apart: Jews of the American South

From NPR: Souther Jews Put Their Spin On Soul Food – interview with Marcie Ferris Cohen, author of “Matzah Ball Gumbo”

From Tablet Magazine: A TASTE OF THE JEWISH SOUTH: Jewish food festivals across the South by Joan Nathan.

Also from Tablet Magazine: Kosher Soul Food Brings Together African-American and Jewish Cuisine by Michael Twitty.

Southern Jewish Life Magazine

IMG_1605A blog post by Museum Intern Rachel Sweren. To read more posts by interns click HERE.

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